May flowers bloom this month as families descend on the town of Indiana for yet another season of graduation. A fresh slate of events is upon us, along with a few Society classics. The warmer weather has enabled outdoor projects to commence after a rather prolonged period of unseasonably chilly weather. Regardless of the season, our committees and volunteers are hard at work. With that, there are a host of happenings and projects at the Society this month worth noting.
Last month’s talk on the Newport digs by Dr. Ben Ford of the IUP Anthropology Department was incredibly well received by those in attendance. Dr. Ford did a wonderful job of conveying the history of the site and the work performed on the grounds, providing ample samples and photographs throughout the evening. The talk concluded with some excellent questions by the audience. With only a fraction of the total space excavated, perhaps there will be more discoveries at the Newport site. The Society wishes to thank Dr. Ford for speaking and looks forward to the Anthropology Department’s further efforts to document and preserve Indiana County’s past.
The Society had its doors open during the arts walk held by Downtown Indiana. Visitors had a chance to tour the Clark House and view the current exhibits on display. Thanks to the event, the Society experienced increased foot traffic and was able to share its collections with many visitors. The day also saw excellent attendance for the Clark House Tours, which had a special theme of Easter 1875. Guests had the chance to learn about local customs and Victorian techniques for dying eggs. Each tour is unique and guests are welcome to join the Clark’s in their mansion on the third Saturday of each month.
Buildings and Grounds hosted its first outdoor work party of the year to spruce up the property. This is all in preparation for the mulch to be laid later this month. Johnston Nursery Landscaping has fertilized the grass and taken the necessary measures for it to grow luscious and green this season. It also will not be long before the Evergreen Garden Club will take to decorating the point. All of this done just in time for the droves of people who will be making their way through town for graduation. The Society is always looking for dedicated volunteers to help out in any means necessary, if volunteering is something you would be interested fill out a volunteer application.
For this month’s events, we kick it off with the Spring Victorian Ladies Tea on Saturday May 14 from 2pm to 4pm. An afternoon of tea and pastries is sure to delight. This event features a new blend of tea “Sunset at the Point” and a unique program highlighting the battle of the sexes. This event is so popular with our guests, that it has sold out, but don't fret, if you missed this tea, another tea is scheduled for September.
The fundraising committee follows right up with the Murder Mystery Dinner on June 12 at 5:00pm. The night’s events will take place on the second floor of the Coney restaurant. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in advance.
Following the murder mystery dinner, the Society will be hosting the grand opening of its wedding dress exhibit that will feature numerous gowns from both the Society and private collections. This FREE event will take place June 16 at 6:30 pm in the Armory. The evening will feature light refreshments and serve as the wedding reception for the dresses. This is a unique opportunity to witness ways that wedding traditions have changed over the last century in Indiana County. Interested parties should RSVP.
New signage and a renewed front entrance space are the latest changes and additions to the museum. The signs were printed locally by Pro-Packet and are placed at strategic areas to guide visitors to the exhibits. Many folks were missing out on the fantastic military displays upstairs because they were unaware of their existence. The front entrance now highlights upcoming events and clearly displays Society happenings. Special thanks to Greta Helse, Elaine Maudie, and Allen Fiechuk for taking the time to arrange everything. The hope is to make folks aware of what the Society has to offer and connect them with topics they are interested in. Fortunately, the space has already caused folks to stop and examine its contents.
Volunteer Jonathan Gulyas has been working extensively on a comprehensive tour of downtown Indiana. At this time, the work is almost complete. A draft has been produced and the Society is evaluating the sources, design, and layout in the hopes of producing a stellar finished product. Volunteers and community partners are testing the routes and providing feedback. Once everything has been reviewed, a final product will be produced and released to the public. The Society is grateful for all the work Gulyas has done so far and is excited to release the final product to the public later this year.
At this time of the year, we bid farewell to seniors who have aided the Society during their time at the university and welcome interns who exploring their professional path. There will be no shortage of events to take part in or projects to work on. Interest in history appears to be increasing. An encouraging point, considering one cannot understand the present or explore the future, without first understanding the past.